Thai government closes in on allowing casinos


A panel of Thai lawmakers has submitted its report recommending that the government issue a decree allowing entertainment complexes, including legal casinos, to be built in key cities across the country.

The proposal comes as Thailand seeks to revive its tourism industry, and the proposals, if adopted, could help the country generate billions of dollars from foreign investors, travellers and Thai gamblers.

Pichet Chuamuangphan, Vice Chairman of the panel and a lawmaker from the Pheu Thai Party, says: We are focused on attracting foreigners to step up tourism and draw money out of their pockets. This will also stem the outflow of money from Thai gamblers and help the government collect hefty taxes for our economic security.”

According to Mr Pichet, Greater Bangkok would be ideal for the initial casino, followed by facilities in seaside southern provinces such as Phuket, Krabi or Phang Nga. Tourist destinations like Chiang Mai in the north and Chonburi, home to beach resort Pattaya, are also contenders.

Complexes must include facilities such as hotels, amusement parks and retail outlets, with the provision of multiple activities avoiding the creation of gambling dens and broadening the appeal of the tourism industry. And according to the proposal, Thais who are at least 20 years old and have a minimum 500,000 Baht (US$13,750) in their bank account would be allowed to gamble, with a minimum 30% tax on casino operators’ revenue also stipulated.